US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

President Donald Trump said the US would be ending sanction waivers for countries importing Iranian oil. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 23 April 2019

US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

WASHINGTON:  US President Donald Trump moved on Monday to cut Iranian oil exports to zero by ending eight countries’ exemption from US sanctions on buyers of crude from Tehran.

China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece will now be subject to full US economic penalties if they buy oil from Iran after May 2.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US wanted to deprive Iran of its lifeline of $50 billion in annual oil revenues by halting all exports. “We are going to zero. We’re going to zero across the board,” he said.

“We’ve made clear — if you don’t abide by this, there will be sanctions. We intend to enforce the sanctions.”

The aim was to pressure Tehran to curtail its nuclear program, halt ballistic missile tests and end its regional meddling in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. “The Trump administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilizing activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies, and security in the Middle East,” the White House said.

The US said it was working with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to ensure the oil market was “adequately supplied.” Pompeo said he was confident of Riyadh’s commitment to making sure there was sufficient supply in the market, and Trump said Saudi Arabia would “more than make up” for the absence of Iranian oil.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom was “monitoring oil market developments” and would coordinate with other producers to ensure a balanced market. Brent crude rose to more than $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November.

Saudi Arabia produces about 9.8 million barrels of oil per day but has the capacity for 12 million, so it could increase production to address any market shortfall, Faisal Mrza, a Saudi-based energy and oil marketing adviser, told Arab News.

“As the world energy industry’s only safety valve, Saudi Arabia is the only oil producer that can compensate for the loss of Iranian barrels,” he said. 

“Historically, Saudi Arabia has successfully proven its ability to maintain balance in the global markets, absorbing any supply shock caused by geopolitical or technical factors.”

(With Agencies)


AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

In this Feb. 5, 2010, file photo, a laboratory technician prepares samples of urine for doping tests during a media open day, at the King's College Drug Control Centre in London. (AP)
Updated 30 May 2020

AI helped predict virus health care needs, says SEHA CFO

  • Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus

LONDON: Artificial intelligence (AI) and data have allowed health systems and governments to predict and ascertain coronavirus patient demand curves, as well as find out where and what type of capacity is needed, the group chief financial officer at the Abu Dhabi Health Services Co. (SEHA) said during a webinar on Friday.
That enabled hospitals in Abu Dhabi to be equipped with ventilators to treat critically ill patients and “to effectively double our ICU (intensive care unit) bed capacity … in a relatively short period of time,” George Kapitelli said.
The webinar was titled “Artificial intelligence in the time of COVID-19.” It was hosted by the Emirates Society in the UK, and was moderated by its Chairman Alistair Burt.
Other speakers included Orlando Agrippa, CEO of Draper & Dash Predictive Healthcare Analytics, and Northumbria Healthcare CEO Sir James Mackey.
Agrippa said: “What we want to do as a health system in Abu Dhabi is not to tackle this virus from a sort of guessing perspective. We want to leverage data, analytics and advanced technology to be able to get in front of it and really manage it at a cellular level.”
He added: “We started looking at what South Korea was doing, what Singapore was doing, what the guys in Germany are doing, or Sweden, that made their situation different from others. We spent an enormous amount of time looking at that.
“We looked at splitting the population into categories. The Middle East has a very different population configuration than the UK, for example.
“We had to do all those things to try to get some sense of when it (COVID-19) will peak, and what will be the true demand and true capacity requirement.”
Kapitelli praised the UAE and its residents and citizens for taking a proactive role in curbing the spread of the virus.
“What I see in the UAE, compared to my home country Australia, is a much better application of basic principles of social distancing and wearing masks and gloves,” he said. “People just accept that here (in the UAE), and I think that obviously plays a positive role.”
Sir James said the use of AI and data gathering is essential in order to be prepared for the next phase of coronavirus.
“One of our problems throughout this whole episode has been access to data beyond our own boundaries,” he added.
“In terms of trying to understand what was coming, our main source of information was ringing friends in London and finding out what was happening there — London was always about two weeks ahead of us (Northumbria). That’s a big gap that we’ve got to close down ahead of this next phase.”